Field Education

Field Education is an essential and required component for students in a professional School of Social Work. As the signature pedagogy of social work, field education is the integration of theory based classroom lessons and clinical skills; into an ethical and client centered social work practice.

In a field education placement, students often work in dynamic agency settings, through a combination of shadowing, co-facilitating and autonomous engagement; that fits the maturity, skill and ability of the student. In working alongside case managers, outreach workers and clinicians – students will observe, be observed and debrief in a setting of trust and professional practice. Typical settings can include but are not limited to: outreach work, shelter settings, family or youth centers, school-based settings, hospital or health clinics, residential and/or long-term care, chemical dependency treatment centers, transitional housing and community centers.

Field Education Placement

Students are matched and assigned to community based agencies and service providers for a set period of days with a focus on learning goals, ethical practice and demonstrating social work competencies in the process of developing a professional identity. Students will accrue hours on a set schedule, which is to be negotiated with their Field Education Instructor during the initial orientation phase. Students are required to attend their Field Education placement during Holidays, Spring Break, or Reading Break, however, absences can be n arranged in advance with student’s Field Education Instructor to ensure time away poses no hardship to clients and/or agency personnel. Please note this is not a guarantee for students.

Matching/Assignment Process

Students are asked not to directly contact prospective agencies to request a placement in advance of their program. This practice leads to confusion and annoyance among our community partners who rely on the School of Social Work to recommend students for placement. If you have community contacts that you wish to explore, please include these in your field education application form.

Your Field Education Coordinator will review your expressed learning goals, interests, prior experience and skills to determine a placement that both fits your learning goals and abilities, as well as the agencies needs. Special attention is given to find a good fit between the mentoring Field Education Instructor and the student. Only certain agencies require interviews. Once students are notified of their assigned placement, they are then responsible to meet with their Field Education Instructor to discuss their role, responsibilities, and learning goals.

Typically, students will complete 60-64 days in a placement while attending classes. A typical week consists of 4 days (Monday – Thursday) in field education placement with classes offered in the evening, online, or on days students are not in placement.

As Field Education is a supported learning environment – both Distance Placements (located outside the Okanagan Valley) and Workplace Placements (placements within existing places of employment) will be considered on a case by case basis with supporting rationale of educational goals/objectives.

Students are required to have access to a mode of transportation for themselves to and from placement sites and to cover costs related to vehicle insurance, maintenance and gas. It is important to note that students can be assigned a placement through out the Okanagan Valley (ranging from Salmon-Arm to Osoyoos/Oliver). In some unique cases, agencies have policies to allow for reimbursement of travel in the course of fulfilling a service for the agency, but, exclude the cost for getting to and from the site. Students planning to or requested to transport clients in private vehicles must review school policy prior to doing so.

For further information on the policies and procedures of Field Education for UBC Okanagan School of Social Work, please review the Field Education Manual on the Current Students Webpage.